The end of the year is always a surprise of sorts at TLC. There are usually several land preservation projects brewing that may or may not come together... It can be hard to predict.
After 10 year-ends, it doesn't stress me out anymore. I've learned that everything happens in its own time, and if a project isn't meant to be this year, it may come back around in another three or seven years! Or never. It will happen if it is meant to be.
This year, 2011, we started off with what seemed like a rush of easements on Fleming Road. We finished 8 or 9 by the end of 2010, and are now up to 18 permanent easements along that road. We don't know for sure what the easements will mean for the roadway, but they have most certainly sent the message that not only do the residents want to see the road stay in its same footprint, but they are willing to give up certain rights to their own property to help make sure that happens.
I think of it as an "Occupy Fleming Road" thing...very grassroots in nature! (Or should I say "oak-roots" in nature?)
TLC actually "purchased" some land this year too. Two parcels that comprise an acre on Barnard Mill Road came up for tax delinquent sale in September. We placed a bid on both parcels ($1300 total), and won! After clearing up a lien, and buying title insurance, our total costs were still less than $5,000. And did I mention that the land is adjacent to 26 acres of conservation easement? And that the easements are adjacent to Glacial Park? How cool is that?!
2012 will be known as the year of two acre land donations. Two acres donated in Nunda Township, 2.5 acres donated in Hebron Township (adjacent to the Dick York Memorial Arboretum easement), and 2 acres donated in Dorr Township adjacent to our 7 acre easement in the Country Ridge subdivision.
I like to say that if we keep up this pace, TLC will have preserved all of the County through land donations in about 500 years!
Our "bread & butter" work - accepting donated permanent conservation easements on private land - is still going strong. We closed on a 38.5 acre easement last week that adjoins the Yonder Prairie/Westwod Park complex just west of Woodstock. And we are set to close on a 56 acre easement that preserves prairie, wetland and oak natural areas by the end of the year. The attorneys have agreed on the details, so now it is just a matter of making a few edits and getting some signatures so the document can be recorded!
Finally, I am pleased to report that we now have a signed agreement to purchase the Gateway property in Harvard! Nearly 18 acres that will become a City Park. We'll finish the acquisition sometime in 2012. No surprises, please.